Challenged Athletes Foundation Raises Over $2 Million to Empower the Next Generation of Challenged Athletes

Funds raised at A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala in the Hamptons provide adaptive equipment, training and competition travel for individuals with physical disabilities

NEW YORK, NY, Aug. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On August 13, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) raised over $2M at its Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala in the Hamptons. On a stunning summer evening at Ludlow Farms in Southampton, over 350 supporters, athletes, business leaders and donors mingled and embraced the night to empower more individuals with physical challenges to pursue an active lifestyle. Hosted by Chairman and Gala Founder Scott and Emily Stackman and honorees Richard and Christine Mack, the extraordinary evening showcased the healing and transformational power of sports within the community. For over 29 years, CAF has raised over $147 million and funded over 40,000 grants to athletes with physical challenges of all ages and abilities, in all 50 states and over 52 countries.

“CAF’s Northeast region has raised over $25 million dollars to provide support for individuals with physical challenges so they can get active and involved in sports,” says Scott Stackman, gala founder, committee chairman and CAF board member.  “We are thrilled to highlight the triumphs, accomplishments, and passion of the CAF community.”

As the sun set over the water, the heart-filled evening featured stories of heroism, triumph over adversity, mentorship and community. CAF athlete and amputee, Breezy Bochenek joined a dynamic 20-person choir on stage for memorable closing performance of “You Will be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. Following the extraordinary program, The River Town Band and DJ Danja brought guests to the dance floor for a memorable night in Southampton, celebrating the transformational power of sport.

Featured athlete guests included:

  • Lana Aronis (9) from Wichita, Kansas is a below-the-knee amputee as a result of a lawn mower injury when she was 18 months old. She has never let her prosthetic hold her back or define who she is, or who she will become. She continues to show her peers, her teachers, and us as parents that the sky is the limit for her. In 2018 CAF granted her a running blade that allowed her to be on a level playfield with her peers. Since that day, Lana has never looked back or doubted what was possible for her.
  • Mackenzie “Mack” Johnson (25) from Charlotte, North Carolina was paralyzed from the waist down after falling off a balcony in 2016. Basketball Hall of Famer and CAF supporter Bill Walton happened to meet Mack and he insisted that Mack drive straight to CAF to get involved. CAF then granted Mack a high-end competitive basketball wheelchair to use at a summer camp at Auburn University where he was recruited and played on their Division 1 Wheelchair Basketball team and graduated with an accounting degree.

Through CAF’s 2022 grant distribution, challenged athletes in 49 states, Puerto Rico and 52 countries have recently received a variety of grants representing $6.2 million in support. Each individual has a unique personal story, and without this critical funding, participation in sports would be unattainable due to the general lack of insurance coverage for adaptive sports equipment and limited opportunities for these individuals to practice and compete.

There is still time to donate to the event to support challenged athletes in the Northeast region and beyond, visit to make a contribution to CAF and its programs.

Founded in 2006 by CAF and Scott Stackman, the Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala has raised over $25 million to support Challenged Athletes Foundation. These dollars have supported the northeast region in funding thousands of grants, and holding life-changing clinics and local events. This Northeast community of mentors, athletes and supporters is driven to grow CAF’s mission and program reach throughout this region of the country.


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Recap Video

We graciously thank the following sponsors for supporting this gala and CAF’s mission:

Game Changer: American Securities Foundation, Christine and Richard Mack. Champion: Anonymous. Hero: The Margaret and Daniel Loeb Foundation, Elizabeth Fowler and Gary Sumers, Melissa Silver Sandler & Ricky Sandler, Smile Direct, Pvolve, Sharper Image. Platinum: The Altman Family Foundation, Connie and Mike Casey, Herbert Feinberg Family Foundation, UBS Financial Services and David S. Winter. Gold: Alessandra and Alan Mnuchin, Alex Chudnoff, Lindsay and Stephen Kraus, Pamela and Jarrett Posner, Shapiro & Gellert. Silver: Anonymous, Andrew Farkas, Feidelson Family, Aly and Wes Gradone, Susan Harrison, Jessica and Christopher James, Robin and Jeffrey Kaplan, Gloria LaGrassa, Rebecca and Bennett Lindenbaum, Lyrical Asset Management, Kelly and Stephen Mack, Sondra and David S. Mack, Guy Metcalfe - Morgan Stanley, Susan and Patrick O'Connell, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn, Aby Rosen, Carolyn and Marc Rowan, Michelle and Andrew Silberstein, Linda and Jerry Spitzer, The Barry S. Sternlicht Foundation and Shari and Ofer Yardeni.

About Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $147 million has been raised and over 40,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and over 70 countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, visit


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Gala founder, committee chairman CAF board member Scott Stackman, has raised over $25 million to support individuals with physical challenges so they can get active and involved in sports

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